Trumpeter Joe Newman, some Basie men, and a few other sympathetic sidemen play an enjoyable set of 1950s swing on this CD reissue. Six of the ten numbers team Newman with trombonist Billy Byers, altoist Gene Quill, tenorman Frank Foster, pianist John Lewis (a perfect fill-in for Count Basie), guitarist Freddie Green, bassist Milt Hinton and drummer Osie Johnson, while the other selections have Newman playing in a quintet with Frank Wess…
Rachel, Rachel is a moving, mature meditation on loneliness and existential angst, best remembered as the directorial debut of Paul Newman. Newman intentionally chose this small-scale, dramatic story to make his entrée into filmmaking. Newman's wife, Joanne Woodward, is convincing as the title character determined to change her life. Though acclaimed –the picture won New York Film Critics awards for both Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman, and an Oscar nomination for Joanne Woodward– the film suffered a quick death at the box office and is, regrettably, largely forgotten. Rachel, Rachel was released on DVD for the first time on February 2009.
For Robert Altman's Kansas City film, since the story was centered in 1934 Kansas City, Altman wanted to have younger musicians depict top jazz artists of the era playing at one of the legendary jam sessions. He recruited many of today's top modernists and, although they used arrangements based on older recordings, they did not have to necessarily improvise in the style of the time. Actually, it is surprising how close the musicians often come, recapturing not just the music of the period but the adventurous spirit of such immortals as Coleman Hawkins, Ben Webster, and Lester Young. A dozen songs from the film are on this very enjoyable and unique CD, which features such players as trumpeter Nicholas Payton, clarinetist Don Byron, guitarists Russell Malone and Mark Whitfield, pianists Geri Allen and Cyrus Chestnut, altoists Jesse Davis and David "Fathead" Newman, and four of today's great tenors: James Carter, Craig Handy, David Murray, and Joshua Redman. In addition, Kevin Mahogany sings "I Left My Baby." Although there are some audience shouts on a couple of the pieces, this is one soundtrack album that very much stands up on its own.
This was the second of Joe Newman's three dates he led under the Swingville banner. For this session he was in the very fine company of Frank Foster (tenor sax), Tommy Flanagan (piano), Eddie Jones (bass) and Bill English (drums). Recorded 10 months after the excellent JIVE AT FIVE album (also for Swingville), and with Flanagan and Jones returnees, this album is just as good as its predecessor. Frank Foster's forceful, mainly middle-register playing is very effective, and Tommy Flanagan is as good as ever. Only one tune, MO-LASSES, which is a blues a bit too overloaded with funk, is not up the the high level of the other tracks. A solid date.
A film involving a violently loud, retired, and suicidal blind man (played by Al Pacino) could have been stricken with a motion picture score to match the surface mood. Thomas Newman's score for Scent of a Woman delves beneath the surface, and what is found is a set that sounds not only classical but classy. There is a chilling calm in the music, a dreamlike state, that draws energy from the colors and feelings of autumn in New York City. Just as one track settles into a peaceful sleep, the stings and violins and drums come marching in, often too briefly, and fade away. While awaiting their return, the quietness of the "in-between" tracks pulls the listener in until what was being waited for is nearly forgotten. The soundtrack features "Por Una Cabeza" performed by the Tango Project; the piece served as the centerpiece of emotion in the film, in which the beautiful Gabrielle Anwar takes Al Pacino's hand and learns that seeing music through wide-open eyes is not half as important as feeling it with the other four senses. Newman's soundtrack believes that too.
Driven by an extravagant, tour-de-force performance by Al Pacino, Scent of a Woman is the story of Frank Slade (Pacino), a blind, retired army colonel who hires Charlie Simms (Chris O'Donnell), a poor college student on the verge of expulsion, to take care of him over Thanksgiving weekend. At the beginning of the weekend, Frank takes Charlie to New York, where he reveals to the student that he intends to visit his family, have a few terrific meals, sleep with a beautiful woman and, finally, commit suicide. The film follows the mis-matched pair over the course of the weekend, as they learn about life through their series of adventures. Though the story is a little contrived and predictable, it pulls all the right strings, thanks to O'Donnell's sympathetic supporting role and Pacino's powerful lead performance, for which he won his first Academy Award. Scent of a Woman is based on the 1975 Italian film Profumo Di Donna.
Features 24 bit digital remastering. Comes with a description. A firey stormer from the great Slide Hampton! The album's one of his few early sides for Atlantic – and like the others, it's a groundbreaking batch of larger group material, with slide out front on trombone, and the rest of the ensemble vamping along like a tight Blue Note combo. Players are excellent – and include George Coleman on tenor, Horace Parlan on piano, Hobart Dotson on trumpet, and Ray Barretto on drums – and Slide makes them come together so tightly, you'd think they were working together every night of the week! Titles include "The Barbarians", "Strollin", "The Jazz Twist", "Red Top", "Slide Slid", and "Day In Day Out".